Last month, Cindy Gallop wrote about dating younger men for the Cut. This week, she joined New York Magazine’s Sex Lives podcast to explain how discovering sex with younger men pushed her to reinvent her career and launch a crusade to improve sex worldwide. Today, Gallop runs Make Love Not Porn, a video-sharing network that is “pro-sex, pro-porn, pro-knowing the difference.” As in, a social-media network where people show themselves having sex, as naturally as possible. Gallop and Make Love Not Porn’s chief curator, Sarah Beall, visited New York Magazine’s Sex Lives podcast to explain their company, their crusade, and the art of exhibiting “real-world sex.”
This is a partial transcript of New York Magazine’s Sex Lives podcast.
Your TED talk famously opens with you saying you date younger men. How did that come about? How long have you been dating younger men?
Everything in my life — and career included — has happened by complete accident. Fifteen years ago now I was running an ad agency here in New York, and we were asked to pitch for an online dating brand. It was coming out in the U.K. and wanted to take on Match in the U.S. market. And in advertising when you pitch for a client’s account, you have to experience the client’s product and the entire competitive landscape. So we all had to online date. And this was 15 years ago, and none of us had because it wasn’t a thing you did then.
The rest of my pitch team at the agency were all married, or they were living with or dating people. They all went online with fake identities. I was single. I thought, I have this business reason, so why don’t I do this for real? You know, we’ll find out what this thing is all about. So I posted my profile on a bunch of sites, my age included. I’ve spent most of my life being single, by the way. Very happily so. I’ve never wanted to be married, I’ve never wanted children, and I’m not really a relationship person, to be honest. So I got an avalanche of responses — very good for the ego. But much to my surprise, because I had totally not thought about this as a dating strategy, the majority of those responses were from young men.
So you’re about, what, 42 at that moment?
Yup, 15 years ago I was 42.
And so I thought, gosh. I mean, I had not thought about this, but hey! Works perfectly. So I began dating younger men and have been doing so very happily ever since.
Did you find that the way those men have sex is markedly different than the way men your age were having sex?
Yes. Although one of the issues about the whole area we’re talking about is that there are vast amounts of nuance. I want to emphasize: Make Love Not Porn was inspired by some, but not all, of the young men I date. I date younger men who are fan-bloody-tastic in bed, even when they slept with very few people previously. They have no need of Make Love Not Porn whatsoever. But yes, Make Love Not Porn was inspired by my experiences with younger men, which resulted in my encountering this issue, which, honestly, would never have occurred to me if I had not encountered it so very intimately. Which is that, in the absence of anything else, porn actually becomes sex education by default. And I began realizing this nine or ten years ago — you know, I encountered a number of sexual behavioral memes, and went, Whoa! I know where that came from. And I thought, Gosh, if I’m experiencing this, then other people must be as well. This was nine or ten years ago, no one was talking about this. No one’s writing anything about it.
And you’re like, why is there a wave of people that all want to come on my face all of a sudden?
I thought, I recognize this behavior, the voice-overs, the expressions. And being a naturally action-oriented person, I went, I’m going to do something about this. And that was how MakeLoveNotPorn.com started. You know, again, purely as a little side venture. The way it’s blown up since is a complete accident as well. I never consciously intended to build this as a business originally.
I must say, I was talking to one of my girlfriends who works in advertising. And I was like, I’m going to talk to Cindy Gallop, have you heard of her? She had a job as an ad exec, and then at some point in the midst of that, she realized she loved fucking younger men and started a whole new career around that. And she was like, Jesus Christ, that is the ultimate New York dream.
That’s hysterical. I love that.